2015 NRL Match Preview: Cronulla Sharks vs Brisbane Broncos

Date: Friday 13th March

Venue: Remondis Stadium

Kick-Off: 8.35pm (local time)

Sharks: 1. Michael Gordan 2. Sosaia Feki 3.Gerard Beale 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Mitch Brown 6. Ben Barba 7. Jeff Robson 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Ennis 10. Matt Prior 11. Jayson Bukuya 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen Interchange: 14. Chris Heighington 15. Tinirau Arona 16. Anthony Tupou 17. David Fifita 18. Valentine Holmes 21.Sami Sauiluma

Broncos: 1. Jordan Kahu 2. Dale Copley 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Sam Thaiday 17. Kodi Nikorima

Cronulla five-eighth Ben Barba will be hoping for a more polished display from not just himself personally but from his new club as they host his old side the Broncos on Friday night.

Barba stood out for the Sharks on Sunday for all the wrong reason. His kicking game was well below first grade standard, with one kick so misdirected it lead to a Raiders 90 metre runaway try. Whilst it was just his first game for the Sharks, he will need to improve immensely if he wants to show his old club what they’ve lost.

The Sharks showed some glimpses of brilliance especially in the backline however inexcusable errors from experienced players and poor options in attack saw the Sharks unable to close out the match and have some improving to do before this clash.

The Broncos also have some improving to do after being thrashed by the Rabbitohs in the season opener at Suncorp.

Brisbane were outclassed by the Rabbitohs, never having gained control of the game from the kick off. An inability to soak up pressure and apply any in return, the Broncos will need to make sure they start strong against the Sharks and stamp their mark on the game early.

The simple fact of Barba facing his ex-club is thrilling in itself but also the battle of the two powerful forward packs sets this game up as one of the best of the round. Cronulla may pack just a touch more punch up front and the backing of the always vocal Cronulla crowd should get the Sharks across the line and their first competition points of the year.

Prediction Sharks by 8

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